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Lord Davies of Oldham: Subject to their legal duties, including the duty of best value and public procurement law, local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions. The DCMS has not issued guidance to local authorities which opt to use a leisure trust model for the management of local leisure facilities. However, every local authority is under a statutory duty to establish an adequate and effective system of financial management and arrangements for the management of risk. The authority's chief finance officer also has duties to report to the council on proposed decisions or actions that would be unlawful or likely to cause a loss.
The duty of best value, as laid down in legislation, requires authorities to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which they exercise their functions, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. It is for them to decide, in the first place, whether the duty of best value can only be met by conducting a tendering exercise. Following the recent consultation exercise, current best-value guidance set out in ODPM Circular 03/2003 will be replaced by the new Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities guidance. The draft consultation guidance made clear that local authorities should adopt practices that are fair and openthat is, neutral between different types of providersand should ensure that any procurement decision, including retaining services in-house, is undertaken and justified in an open and transparent way. Any specific complaints that best value is not being met in a particular set of circumstances would need to be addressed in the first instance to the authority's external auditor.
Whether the national evaluation process to measure the effectiveness of the National Health Service health trainers initiative has been set up; and, if so, what have been its findings to date. [HL3636]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): A data-collection monitoring system is already available to all National Health Service primary care trusts (PCTs) running health trainer programmes. We plan to commission a new study later in the year which will explore the different models of the health trainer initiative and how these models will support behaviour change. There are local evaluations by PCTs already in place.
Lord Darzi of Denham: The health trainers data-collection system began a national rollout programme from January 2008. The system is for all primary care trusts (PCTs) and collects essential data about the health trainer service. There is a performance aspect included in the system. PCTs responsible for the delivery of health trainer programmes are encouraged to use this system.
Lord Darzi of Denham: There are 1,282 qualified health trainers (individuals not whole-time equivalents) employed, funded, or supported by the National Health Service in primary care trust (PCT) areas. A table showing the distribution between PCTs has been placed in the Library.
Lord Rooker: For the relevant period (1970-98) the Public Prosecution Service electronic case management system, which in any event only holds records from 1992 onwards, does not contain information as to whether the victim was a member of the UDR or RIR. Murder investigation files submitted by police to the Director of Public Prosecutions were recorded in the name of the victim and persons reported for possible prosecution.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Available Home Office data are from the homicide index and relate to offences recorded as homicide by the Metropolitan and City of London police forces where the victim had the occupation police officer. As at 12 November 2007, when recording closed down for the purpose of analysis, one such homicide had been recorded between 1997-98 and 2006-07. The suspect was convicted of Section 2 manslaughter (diminished responsibility).
What proposals there are to restructure the police service in County Armagh and reduce the number of police stations; whether any decisions have been taken and by whom; whether a consultation period was involved and who was consulted; and what is the timetable for such restructuring. [HL3357]
The PSNI is currently carrying out a review of its estate strategy which includes County Armagh. County Armagh covers Armagh and part of Newry and Mourne PSNI Area Command Units in E district. The review will consider potential station closures.
It is anticipated that in the future there may be changes to the police estate within the district and proposals will be considered in consultation with the local district policing partnerships and elected representatives, ahead of a public consultation process. No decisions have been taken in relation to the closure of any station.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The areas of current public spending in Scotland which are not covered by the Barnett formula are spending which is reserved to the UK Government under the Scotland Act and devolved AME spending. Further details are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published by the Treasury in October 2007.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Total identifiable public spending in Scotland in 2007-08 was published in table 9.1 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2008in April (HC 489). The Barnett formula determines changes in DEL spending; Scotland DEL spending in 2007-08 is published in table 1.12 of the same publication.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_quidance.aspx.
What is the most recent guidance that has been issued to civil servants by the Department for Children, Schools and Families on the drafting of Answers to Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords. [HL3514]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_quidance.aspx.
What is the most recent guidance that has been issued to civil servants by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills on the drafting of Answers to Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords. [HL3550]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_quidance.aspx.
Lord Rooker: Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_guidance.aspx.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Treasury's intranet site contains guidance which was issued in January 2007. Additionally, officials' attention is drawn to the guidance promulgated in February 2005 by the Cabinet Office on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions and they are also asked to submit draft replies which will enable the Minister to answer within the timeframe set by the House.
In respect of the rail franchise change of control policy statement issued on 28 March (a) which organisations were consulted on the proposals; (b) on what basis the administration fee will be assessed and charged; (c) what is the legal basis for the proposed charge of the greater of £1 million or 5 per cent of the value of the change to the vendor; and (d) what is the purpose of levying that charge. [HL3551]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: (a) This statement provides information about the Secretary of State for Transports planned approach to exercising her existing powers under franchise agreements. The Department for Transport did not seek the views of any organisation on this contractual matter.
(c) Under the franchise agreements between the Secretary of State and train operating companies, the Secretary of State's power to grant or refuse permission for a change of control is essentially unfettered. Therefore, as a matter of private law rights and by reason of the statutory duties imposed on the Secretary of State, including the duty to promote improvements in railway service performance, the Secretary of State, acting in the public interest, is entitled to require a payment in return for her consent.
(d) The purpose of the facilitation fee is to allow the public to benefit from a change of control. The value of franchises is often a product of substantial public subsidy or investment. It is therefore reasonable that the Secretary of State should have the opportunity to ensure that passengers and the public purse receive some benefit when franchises change hands.
How many complaints of harassment or serious harm have been made by persons leaving the Muslim faith or converting to other religions in recent years; and whether police are available and other administrative measures in place to protect such people and their families. [HL3390]
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